Why Do Good Interim Leaders Go Bad?

in , , ,
Why Do Good Interim Leaders Go Bad?

Our Vice President, Diane Nicholas shares her thoughts on why good interim leaders go bad.

It is not uncommon for me to hear “we haven’t had much luck with interims” or “interims just don’t seem to work for our organization.”  In my experience, several key factors help create a successful interim experience for both the interim and the client.  The right communication with your search partner can ensure a better outcome in your search for interim leaders.  Here are a few things to consider.

Clear communication and a clear plan

It’s worth having a 20  to 30 minute phone call with your search partner to convey this information. While I respect that most of us have busy schedules, a three sentence email does not adequately express leadership needs.  Make sure you take the time on the front end to avoid issues later that will consume more of your time than 20 or 30 minutes.

Detailed Information

Details should be shared with your search partner regarding the size and scope of the department.  Not just the job description, although that is helpful.  How many direct reports and how many FTEs overall report to this leader?  What is the patient volume handled by this department?  What is the history of the department?  It will help identify the best fit for your leadership need.

Three – Six Month Objectives

What are the objectives you need accomplished in the next three to six months?  This can be key to determining which leader is the best for your organization at this time.  Identifying a leader with a track record of success with key initiatives can assist your search greatly.


Don’t underestimate the length of time you will need the interim.  Interim leaders work from assignment to assignment.  Some of them make plans around their assignments and if you tell them you only need them for three months but end up needing them longer, it can create a challenge for you later on.

Cultural Details

Consider cultural details in your decision making.  If you are a rural hospital, you need someone with rural experience.  The same principle applies to larger metropolitan hospitals.  Your organization has a unique culture as well.  Let your search partner know the type of leader that works best for your organization. 

Choose Wisely

Make sure you work with a search partner who stays in touch with you and the interim.  Good search partners do spot checks to make sure everyone is on track. 

There are no guarantees that an interim will work out beautifully, but if you take a few steps up front, you will have a more successful outcome.  If you are looking for a strong search partner to assist you with an interim need, please call us.  We will be happy to assist you.

Diane Nicholas serves as Vice President at Tyler & Company. Diane currently leads searches for mid-level to senior executives as well as interim placements for our Northeast and Midwest regions.

(1 vote. Average 5 of 5)